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Monday, December 4, 2023
Dec. 4, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Family farms; driving deaths

The Columbian

Cheers: To a farming family. Bi-Zi farms, along what is now Northeast 119th Street, has been in the Zimmerman family for 150 years. A celebration of that milestone will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday with a party that is open to the public. “The Zimmerman family came here in 1872 and settled in Clark County. We’ve been farming here ever since,” Joe Zimmerman said.

Nine farms in Washington have been designated as Centennial Farms, and Bi-Zi is one of four owned by a family descendant. The key to such resilience? “You get some folks who are very shortsighted on agriculture. They think, ‘My grandpa farmed this way, my dad farmed this way and I farm that way, too, and I don’t make money,’ … not considering the world is how much different than it was 30 or 40 years ago,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve been grateful that we have the flexibility to change.”

Jeers: To traffic fatalities. While most states have seen a decline in fatal accidents in the past year, deaths on Washington roads have continued to increase. The state saw 327 traffic fatalities — including cyclists, pedestrians and passengers — in the first half of 2022, up from 249 for the same period in 2021, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council. Washington also saw an increase in traffic fatalities from 2020 to 2021.

One reason is a lack of caution, according to a Seattle-based consultant: “Those driving habits that we established during the height of the pandemic when we were driving on those open roads have not shifted back to the way that we were driving in 2019 and before.”

Cheers: To a memorable victory. Camas High School graduate Jack Colletto has become a bit of a folk hero for Oregon State football fans, but he outdid himself last week. Colletto scored a touchdown with a 2-yard run on the final play of the game, giving the Beavers a 35-32 victory at Fresno State.

Colletto has earned notoriety for playing linebacker and fullback for OSU; he also frequently lines up as quarterback with the intent of running the ball. Through two games this year, he has six tackles and three touchdowns, making him, um, a Jack of all trades.

Jeers: To extreme weather. Climate change is not only about warming temperatures; it is about unusual weather patterns that play havoc with agriculture. An unseasonal cold snap in the spring, for example, is being blamed for the Northwest’s smallest cherry harvest in 14 years.

The region saw a snowstorm in April, during a key time for cherry crops. Now, notes an industry official, “Fewer cherries will be available on the market, with the Northwest being one of the largest exporters in the nation.”

Cheers: To Dana Miles. The English language arts teacher at the Washington School for the Deaf — and a 1993 graduate of the school — has been named the 2023 Washington State Teacher of the Year. “I was shocked, humbled, touched. I’ve received so much support from our community and beyond,” said Miles, who communicates using American Sign Language. “But I saw this as an opportunity to educate people about the deaf community and our language. We are so rich with culture and connection. I’m glad this is an opportunity to broadcast this to everyone.”

Miles now will be considered for the National Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in the spring. In the meantime, she will continue to have a positive impact on her students in Vancouver.

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